Press release: Suppressing Criticism of the Israeli Occupation

January 1, 2006

The current campaign being waged in Germany and Austria by Jewish and other groups against people, whether of Jewish or other backgrounds, who have stated their legitimate criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, is totally unacceptable. Israel is no more immune to criticism than any other country which violates human rights. Individuals and peace groups based in Israel itself recognize this as do many others around the world.

If intellectuals of the countries who were most closely associated with crimes of genocide are forced into silence by pressure being put on them, or those inviting them to speak out, we fear that future generations will rightly accuse ours of compliance with this pressure because of silence about the war crimes in Palestine. Legitimate criticism of Israel, based on its policies against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as inside Israel cannot be called anti-Semitic.

Such an accusation deliberately mis-uses the term, aimed at awakening fear of anti-Semitism, rather than diminishing it. It would represent the silencing of freedom of speech.

European Jews for a Just Peace, citizens of Europe, reject the attempt to silence and suppress justified criticism of the Israeli occupation by the use of the feared accusation of anti-Semitism. We insist on our rights and those of others who are courageous enough to speak out against injustice, wherever this occurs.